Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

2 inches??

Photo courtesy of Me

I’m glad the impulse struck me last night and I stuck this cheapie rain gauge (damn you, Target, and your little entryway aisle of $1 items) outside last night at 11pm before I went upstairs. This is what it looked like at 9am, after it collected the “1-2″ of rain [that] may fall before this storm winds down tomorrow.”

I certainly won’t claim this device or its placement rivals the collection equipment at National Airport, but I’m having a hard time reconciling this with the math of 2.37″ at midnight (as cited in the link above) and the total cited in the most recent post of 3-6 inches total rainfall for the storm.

Regardless of official totals, it’s a swamp at my home. I finally got one of my rain barrels put in place Saturday night and its 55 gallon capacity was already overflowing by 9pm Sunday. We’re all still under a flood watch through the afternoon and a warning almost till morning commute tomorrow, so be careful. There’s still unfixed potholes that showed up over the winter waiting to get you when you can’t see them, assuming you’re not hydroplaning across a few lanes. Controlling your vehicle through water is challenging.

Rainy Morning Calls for Dirty Chai.

With the deluge starting yesterday afternoon while we were on a family field trip in Stafford, and continuing well into the night and the early morning hours, I was not in any mood to get out of bed today.

Fortunately, my phone started ringing just after 8:30, which gave me no choice but to get vertical. DC in the rain is a beautiful place, with vibrant greens and earthy browns and blacks. As much as we need the rain, I’m willing to tolerate a lot of the frustration that comes with its arrival.

But I just can’t get out of bed on mornings like this. Fortunately, Nick & the Gang‘s got me covered with a triple-shot chai latte and the playlist from one of my junior high dances. That’ll wake anyone up, I think.

Now, if only I could find some motivation…

Eat your heart out, Bonner — Originally uploaded by tbridge

Driving in VA (Advanced Course)

Photo courtesy of Erik Charlton

Good morning, D.C.

It’s been a very wet and soggy commute this morning.

If you drive in Virginia, please please PLEASE turn your headlights on if the rain is enough to keep your wipers on. “Daytime Running Lights” (those headlamps that are on when your car is in motion) isn’t the same thing – you need to have your parking lights on as well. Otherwise, you can’t SEE YOUR CAR in the gloom and gray. I sure don’t want someone to pancake my own nice sedan (hey, it’s my wife’s car!) and I would really like to not bump yours, either.

And if you don’t believe me, here’s what the VA Vehicular Code has to say:

§ 46.2-1030. When lights to be lighted; number of lights to be lighted at any time; use of warning lights.

A. Every vehicle in operation on a highway in the Commonwealth shall display lighted headlights and illuminating devices as required by this article (i) from sunset to sunrise, (ii) during any other time when, because of rain, smoke, fog, snow, sleet, insufficient light, or other unfavorable atmospheric conditions, visibility is reduced to a degree whereby persons or vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet, and (iii) whenever windshield wipers are in use as a result of fog, rain, sleet, or snow. The provisions of this subsection, however, shall not apply to instances when windshield wipers are used intermittently in misting rain, sleet, or snow.

[…]

D. The failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices under the conditions set forth in clause (iii) of subsection A of this section shall not constitute negligence per se, nor shall violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section constitute a defense to any claim for personal injury or recovery of medical expenses for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.

E. No demerit points shall be assessed for failure to display lighted headlights and illuminating devices during periods of fog, rain, sleet, or snow in violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section.

F. No citation for a violation of clause (iii) of subsection A of this section shall be issued unless the officer issuing such citation has cause to stop or arrest the driver of such motor vehicle for the violation of some other provision of this Code or local ordinance relating to the operation, ownership, or maintenance of a motor vehicle or any criminal statute.

(Much thanks to Vivian Paige’s blog for the info.)

So no, you won’t get pulled over for not having them on. But if a cop pulls you over for another violation, you’ll get it added as a citation, like failure to have your seatbelt on. So save yourself the aggrevation from safe drivers like myself – I reserve dirty looks for you people; do you really want that on your conscience? – and a possible accident in the future. Who needs higher insurance premiums when we’ve got these gas prices?

Gloom Returns, courtesy of Erik Charlton

World Malaria Day … or Rock Concert at Work

buttonFor those who do keep their finger on the world pulse, tomorrow is World Malaria Day (April 25th), sponsored by the World Health Organization. While Spring is here, and the standing water from the heavy rains a few days ago will sure spawn our favorite Summer pest, the mosquito, it’s good to remember, that here, in the US, we’re lucky enough not to have the scourge of malaria, one of the largest killers of people, young and old, worldwide. So, as a reminder, since we do get other mosquito borne illness here, notably the West Nile Virus, if you have standing water pooling on your property, in buckets, plastic sheeting, or other places that seem innocuous, tip it out and drain it. (Remember, D.C. used to be a swamp, so it makes sense…)

On the upside, Senegalese singer, Youssou N’Dour is performing at the World Bank in the atrium at 2pm. I’m not sure if it’s fully open to the public, but you can try, given that it’s supposed to raise awareness…it’d be dumb to restrict access.

My barrels, let me show you them.

Photo courtesy of Me

Here they are.

That’s the inside of what our friends call our “Chester the child molester van,” but what we simply call “big red.” Receding into the distance is the Hyattsville Pepsi bottling plant, where these 4 food-grade barrels came from. Two are 55 gallons, two are 30 gallons. All are intended to go around the edge of my house to be used as rain barrels, though we may end up not making use of them all.

Pepsi charges a nominal $5 per barrel fee to sell them to you, which is a steal compared to what you’d pay a commercial outfit. In fairness, I’m going to have to put on the necessary attachments myself before they can be used, to say nothing about washing out some leftover syrup sludge. Unless you can tell me for sure that tomato plants and daffodils are fans of lemon-lime, that is.

If you’re not quite as cheap & handy as I am (in that order) you can pick up barrels from the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. $60 is more than the $5 plus parts and time I’ll spend, but you won’t have to show up in Hyattsville at 6:30am to be assured of getting one either.

If you like to walk the path less traveled sensible as I do, instructions for making a barrel are provided here by the Maryland Environmental Design Program or you can use the contact link and ask the Fairfax Country Conservation District program to contact you the next time they run a rain barrel construction workshop.

If you’re thinking this sounds a little too hippie-dippy for you, I had some initial qualms about that as well. However I pretty much made up my mind to do it because of two things. One of them is probably unique to me: the previous tenants in our house left behind a number of soaker hoses, so we’d like to make use of them. The other factor I am sure applies to you as well: water is expensive. Since Arlington – and many regions –  base our sewer bill on our water consumption, we don’t just pay the $3.34 for each 1,000 gallons we pour out onto our lawn and garden – we also pay an additional $5.86 to cover the cost of spiriting it away down the drain and off to the stinky water  treatment plant… even though there’s no drain in our vegetable garden.

So if I put all 4 of my barrels to use, that’ll be a combined 170 gallons of water on hand to use rather than the $1.56 worth that comes out of the tap. Not a money saver right out the door, but combined with the lazyness factor of letting the soaker hoses do the work without any accompanying worry about them rupturing and costing me money, I think it’ll be worth it.

Besides, it’s yet another do it yourself project I can add to my overstocked pile. What more could I ask for?

Tornado Watch #99

tornado99.png That’s the Weather Service Bureau Identification for the Tornado Watch that’s been underway since 5:50 tonight and is in effect until 3am. The real part of the rain is supposed to hit tonight after 9pm, and that’s probably when we’ll see a lot of the chance to see tornadic activity here in the DC area. So, be careful out there, and be sure to check various news sources before you hit the sack tonight.

Here’s the pertinent part of the Watch:

DISCUSSION…VERY INTENSE VERTICAL MOTION FIELDS AND LOW/DEEP LAYER SHEAR WILL OVERSPREAD THIS REGION THROUGH TONIGHT AS STRONG UPPER SYSTEM BEGINS TO LIFT NEWD ACROSS THE APPALACHIANS. ALTHOUGH INSTABILITY WILL REMAIN MEAGER…MOISTENING LOW LEVELS CONCURRENT WITH 70+ KT SLY LLJ WILL ENHANCE THE POTENTIAL FOR LOW LEVEL ROTATION AND POSSIBLE TORNADOES. ACTIVITY MAY OCCUR IN TWO BANDS…ONE NOW MOVING INTO CENTRAL NC/VA AND ANOTHER SPREADING ENEWD ALONG THE MAIN COLD FRONT LATER TONIGHT. SEVERE/TORNADO THREAT MAY PERSIST WELL INTO THE NIGHT UNTIL THE LATER BAND MOVES OFFSHORE.

If you spot a tornado, please seek shelter.

What does weather have to do with the Smithsonian?

The Smithsonian Castle, show by EphienMight be a reasonable question to have when you first see this post on Capital Weather, but as it turns out the more appropriate question might be “what does the Smithsonian do with weather?” The answer is, apparently, not much.

The information presented in the exhibit stands in direct contrast not only to current climate science but also to other information that the museum has published.

[snip]

One of the panels of text in the ice ages exhibit is entitled “The Future” and states, “the minor global cooling trend of recent decades, with its attendant shifts in wind and rainfall patterns, is being carefully watched and studied. Already the effects on food production are severe in many parts of the world…”

Global cooling is typically something that climate change contrarians talk about, not the Smithsonian.

As it turns out, the culprit here is not the Smithsonian deliberately engaging in falsehoods, but rather simply failing to notice the old exhibit. Andrew quotes Smithsonian employee Bill Fitzhugh as saying they simply forgot the exhibits were there and contained that information.

It’s an interesting dilemma for the Smithsonian divisions that do more than simply display prior art, and presumably goes beyond just the science-minded stuff. What about text attached to, say, a painter’s biography if new information comes to light about their work or life? I hope this publicity goads the Smithsonian to add some ongoing oversight to their exhibits. Perhaps a project similar to the LoC’s Flickr project could put all the exhibit text in a format that people could view other than when they happen to be in front of it, improving the odds of finding antiquated info.

Photo by Ehpien

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may start your grills

A Grill at Adams Morgan Day A Grill at Adams Morgan Day …because the weather is perfect for the beginning of cook-with-fire season. Tom and I inaugurated grilling season last night with some steak and grilled zucchini… and this morning I have the red wine headache to show for it.I hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful weather, and many thanks to Flickr user ohad* for uploading this photo to the Metroblogging DC Flickr Pool.

A visual aid

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My representation of the total snow output resulting from this snow advisory.

The Morning News: We Love You Edition

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. We know that not everyone has a special someone, but today, know that we here at Metblogs love you. Yes, even you creepy stalker girl. And you, too, Poo Poo.

Another Crazy Lawsuit

Except that this time, it’s Best Buy being sued, and not a Dry Cleaners. A woman is suing Best Buy for $54 million for losing her laptop. She took it to the Tenleytown Best Buy for repair, and they promptly lost her laptop. Of course, they bought her a new laptop and she got a $500 gift card for her trouble. But that apparently wasn’t enough. So she’s suing. For $54M. Ridiculous. C’mon people, this is stupid.

VDOT Says “Oops, My Bad”

VDOT is apologizing for their complete fuckup on the roads on Tuesday night, that ended up shutting down multiple interchanges on the Beltway due to ice. However, really what they’re doing is putting the blame on the weather forecast, which is a load of horseshit, and Bob Marbourg from WTOP is calling them out: “We would only hope that the highway departments would put the forecasts down, look at the real time temperatures and look at the radar off in the distance and anticipate, ‘Hey, the forecast is going out the window.'”

United Stadium at Poplar Point?

Looks like the City wants to keep its only good sports team after all. The City is floating a proposal for a 27,000 seat soccer stadium at Poplar Point, costing between $150-230M, which is chump change in comparison to the new Nationals stadium. If successful, it’d be the largest publicly funded soccer venue in MLS history.

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